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Newbie looking for advice on first bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by RSully72, Jul 4, 2004.

  1. RSully72


    May 31, 2004

    I’m new to the TB forums and new to playing bass as well…..although calling it playing at this point is pretty generous. I’m 31, which I know is kinda old to start playing, but they say you’re never too old to learn something new. I've always been interested in the bass, even when I was younger listening to all those great 80’s rock bands like Winger, Trixter, and Keel (stop laughing), my friends would always play air-guitar while I sat around always trying to pick out the bass lines. I was surfing the web one afternoon, looking for some bass gear reviews, and was lucky enough to stumble on this forum. What a great resource all you experienced players are!
    As the resident newbie I promise to make every effort to use the “search” function, to post topics in the correct forums, and to completely avoid any thread with the word “Behringer” in the subject line :p .
    Anyway, for the past month, I’ve been renting an old Samick 4-string bass and a Crate combo amp – both made sometime in the late 80’s by the looks of them - in fact I’m pretty sure the Samick was once played by Bon Jovi’s old bass player. :) I’ve really enjoyed starting out on the bass, but the Samick feels really awkward and difficult to play, and I’m not that crazy about the Crate combo either. So I’ve decided to invest in my own equipment. I had decided to go with a standard P-Bass because I figured it would be a good starter bass, and I really dig the tone and feel. Since it will be my first bass and amp purchase, I had set my budget for both of them together at around $300 or so. I was leaning toward trying to find a good new MIM Fender P, but they get a bit pricey at around $300-$400 (at least pricey for my budget), which also would have left me with very little or no money left over for a practice amp. After reading some reviews on this forum, I stumbled onto the posts about the Essex (or SX) basses. After doing quite a bit of research, it seems that most people seem to find these basses to be a very good value, and somewhat similar in quality to the MIM Fenders. I really would have preferred to be able to play one first (not that I would really know what to look for anyway), but I decided to jump on it, take a chance, and place an order. I figured that the bass was priced well enough so that even after the cost of the bass + shipping, I’d still have a enough left over to buy a good practice amp (maybe like the Peavey Microbass….sorry, I know that goes in another forum :p ). I went with the model SPB-57 TM. I paid the extra $10 for the photo flame top even because I really loved the look as soon as I saw it.
    My main question is, do you guys think I made a wise decision for my first purchase? It’s not too late to cancel my order, so I’m trying to find out if there’s anybody out there dying to scream at me “NO…STOP…NOT THAT ONE!”. I guess I’m just looking for a little reassurance.
    Anyway, I’m sorry for the post being such a long one. I look forward to any feedback, good or bad. I also look forward to being a part of this great community. Thanks!


    BTW, somebody in an earlier post mentioned newbies having to sacrifice carrots to the moderators...does that, like have to be done at midnight or something? Does it require a full moon too or is partial okay? Just looking for clarification. :cool:
  2. Lots of people on this forum love their essex basses....and lots of those people have really expensive basses to. I definatly think its good bass to learn on.
  3. Char-Lee


    Aug 29, 2002
    Spokane, WA
    Yeah that sounds like a fine bass to start on. Most all bass that say made in Taiwan or Korea are made at the Samick factory. Samick builds about half of the inexpensive guitars in the world and more recently they have been putting out amazing basses for a reasonable price. I haven't played an Essex but if its made in either of those countries I almost guarantee its made by Samick and therefore you made a good choice. I think the hard part will be finding a good amp, Ibanez has a couple of new bass amps that have some great features and are reasonable so you might check them out.

  4. Don't forget that essex come with really bad strings, so you should buy some new ones and put htem on the essex as soon as you have it.
  5. RSully72


    May 31, 2004
    Thanks for the input so far guys. I'm really looking forward to getting this baby. You had mentioned that they come with really bad strings, and I had read some other posts on the Essex basses that recommended upgrading the strings. I think they come with D'addario flat-wound. Since I'm new to playing, I'm not familiar with the different types of strings. What kind of strings (brand and style) would you guys recommend I try? Also, is there a sound or playability difference in the different guages - I assume thats what the numbers (like 45-105) on the strings mean. Thanks for all the help!

  6. BenderR


    Jun 1, 2004
    Tucson, AZ
    As a rough guideline you can think of two major families of strings, Flatwounds and Roundwounds.

    The first electric basses were meant to replace an upright bass so flatwound strings were used to get a more subdued sound. As far back as the early '60s the first roundwounds (Rotosound) became available and these have a much brighter (IMHO piano-like) sound. From the music you describe I would surmise that you probably are more inclined towards the roundwound's characterisitics.

    A big problem with roundwound strings is finger noise. There are half-round (AKA ground-wound) strings that help to eliminate that problem by having a flattened surface that eliminates a lot of the finger noise. These are also a little kinder to your fingertips. I recently tried a set of D'Addario EHR 71s on a Jazz Bass and they had a lot of brightness.

    Based on what you said about yourself in your original post I would suggest either round or half-round strings in the original gauge.

    The next question is Nickel vs Stainless. Nickel is less bright than Stainless and considered by some to be more "vintage" sounding.

    Hope this helps.
  7. moonbagel91


    May 24, 2004
    i'm really half a sleep right now so i'm just gonna say...
    hi, i'm pretty new to bass my self. i've been plaing for about 8 months. and so i welcome you! hola!
  8. Bassesq


    Apr 9, 2004
    Long Island

    I am also an older bass starter (47). In December, 2002 I bought an Ibanez SR300DX for about $280 and a Fender Bassman 25 for $240.00. I enjoyed them but traded up for a used MIA Fender P in Oct, 2003 and shortly thereafter for a new GK Backline 115 in Dec, 2003.

    I am much happier now with the better guitar and better amp. For whatever its worth, get the best stuff that your budget will allow because I have also learned that the initial gear you buy, is often just that.

    I wanted to make sure that I would stay with it and practice rather than buy more expensive stuff initially. Had I bought the better gear initially I would not have "lost" some dollars on the trade.

    I have flats on my P as I like that Motown, Beatle sound and like that sound. I also had Rotosounds before I put the flats on.

    Whatever gear you get, have as much fun as I am having. :bassist:

  9. Although Bassesq makes a valid point here, there is one problem : a newbie hasn't got the experience to really know what he/she wants IME.

    So my advise would be the opposite, buy as cheap as possible and later, when you really know what you want, then buy the best gear your budget will allow.
  10. HI!

    Congrats for starting!
    It's never late to start bass.
    Enjoy the moments you will live

  11. Joey3313


    Nov 28, 2003
    I can't, it's too damn funny!

    Man...I am sooooo glad I missed a decent chunk of the 80s.

    Anywho, enjoy playing bass! It's never to late to pick up an instrument.
  12. He's right. Practice everyday and find some people to play with and you will be jamming in no time.
  13. Bayou_Brawler

    Bayou_Brawler The most hurtful thing ever realized

    Oct 23, 2003
    Ann Arbor, MI
    don't be afraid not to search and just start typing.